Kenya: Gettin’ smooched by giraffes & seeing a dead baroness’ home

“She who has not reached her destination never gets tired”
– Kenyan proverb

(I’m feeling a bit tired tho… If I’m honest…)

After saying goodbye to most of the tour group in Nairobi, I went with Philomine, Amrita and Mike to see the giraffe centre and elephant orphanage, before they buggered off to the airport (and DUBAI!) and I went to Karen Blixen’s house.

 

GIRAFFE CENTRE

You can eat at Giraffe Manor and get a giraffe or two stealing some of your food through the windows (yeah, it’s a thing). I thought of doing this until their Instagram account informed us trusty followers that they were pretty much fully booked out 2018… So, when the guys went to the giraffe centre I jumped at the chance to go with.
For $5 you can go in, fill your hands with pellets and get kissed by the giraffes. So basically, I didn’t miss anything 😀 The giraffes know what time it is when all the tourists gather around the fence, so they gather around the fence too, ready to slurp and nomnom! I don’t know what peak season at this place is, but we were there at a good time. There were plenty of people, but not so many we were crowded or even had to wait our turn. One of the handlers introduced us to Salma, a very sassy giraffe mama who would headbutt you if she was displeased (which, I’m guessing was every time you ran out of pellets). He made sure we didn’t stand too her sides, but kept straight in front of her and that she had ample access to snacks. I thought she was amazing, but then… My favourite elephant at Antelope Park was Ntombi, and she was exactly the same way, she’d slap you with her trunk if she felt like it. Sassy animals are the best 😉
After feeding the giraffes a bit, Philomine and I went inside and caught the presentation where they talked about giraffes and the centre in general as well as giving us the chance to hold some bones, like leg bone and vertebrae, they were massive! And heavy!
I also learnt one of the giraffes was named “Betty” which just made me think of Billy Connolly’s lion sketch (“Pssst! Betteh!!”) – so there was me again, giggling like an idiot…
Anyway, I got smooched by two giraffes and I am ridiculously happy #GoodTimes

THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST

I hadn’t originally planned on going to see this elephant orphanage, but since I tagged along with the others it sort of got included and I’m really glad it did. For one, I could spend some more time with the guys before saying goodbye, and secondly elephants are my favourite animal, so it was pretty much a given that I would enjoy this. You show up a little before feeding time and wait for the orphans to come running (they also know what time it is *lol*). Pretty soon we had a bunch of baby and juvenile elephants running as fast as they could to reach the keepers and the milk bottles. 3 litres of milk in one bottle and these guys guzzled them down in no time. I can’t remember how many of these bottles they were fed each day, what the names of any of the elephants were or how long the orphanage has been open, but I DO remember the smallest ones carrying blankets over their bums tied in with a superlong belt. I also remember that one “teenage” elephant that fell over, struggled to get back up and sounded so incredibly upset we had to laugh. I also remember vividly the warthog that showed up (ALSO knowing what time it was) and started eating the food pellets that were on the ground for the elephants. AND I remember that one young elephant waving her ears tryig to look intimidating to scare the warthog off. It was adorable and hilarious. Definitely a place you should go if you go to Nairobi and love animals (it’s kid friendly too).

 

KAREN BILXEN’S HOUSE

I remember reading “Out of Africa” for English while I was in high school. I thought it was a** boring and couldn’t wait to finish it. I read it again before I came to Kenya and liked it a little bit better, but it’s still not a book that captures me. Of course, the end where she has to say goodbye to everyone sell her farm and leave Africa (spoiler alert) made me cry. Because who would I be if I wasn’t stupidly nostalgic 😛 This is also why the movie gripped me far more and some of the quotes still stick with me.
I had decided to go see her house so after the elephant sanctuary the taxi dropped me off at Karen Blixen’s before taking the others to the airport. Apparantly, every group/person who buys a ticket gets a guide included in the price, so I got my very own local dude to tell me all about the place. I thought that would be unnecessary, and to be honest it wasn’t crucial to the visit, but he had some interesting tidbits to share so I enjoyed his company.
It was quite fascinating to walk through time and get a glimpse of Karen Blixen’s life. Some of the house is restored, but there are plenty of original pieces there to give you a real feel of the old baroness. I would’ve liked to hike up to where Denys Finch-Hatton was buried too, but time constraints (and ankle sprain) put a stop to that. As far as recommending the place… I think going there is well worth it if you have read the book and/or know the history of the place, but I doubt you’d find the place very interesting if you can’t tick off either of those things.

The rest of my time in Nairobi was spent relaxing, planning my trips to Ethiopia and Hungary and checking out the Railway Museum and Nairobi National Museum. The museums were fun, actually, even for someone who was feeling a bit “museumed out”. The National Museum also has a snake park with snakes (duh), other reptiles, turtles and such malarkey – no touchy though. Very disappoint 😉

 

NAIROBI NATIONAL MUSEUM

 

NAIROBI RAILWAY MUSEUM AND THE REST OF THE STUFF

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